Hotdogs, Donuts and More, OH MY!

I normally do not tell people this but I need to to make the story funny. I attended Harvard for graduate school. I am very proud of it. I loved almost every minute of it, but I don’t tell people for a handful of reasons.  1) I didn’t go to Harvard to tell people I went to Harvard. I went to get an excellent education, which I did. 2) I hate when people talk to me like this…So, my name is Frank and I went to Harvard. I live in Cincinnati, did I tell you I went to Harvard? My wife is from Wisconsin, did I tell you I went to Harvard. I have two sons, did I tell you I went to Harvard. I love ice cream, did I tell you I went to Harvard? 3) This is ONE reason WHY you don’t tell people you went to Harvard. Before, I went to Harvard when I would talk to people with Ivy League educations, I wanted to sound intelligent so I would try to think up these $50 words to use in converation, like exorbitant instead of expensive, and crap like that…well, now people do that to me and half the time, I don’t know the words they use and I need a dictionary and it becomes incredibly uncomfortable. So, I don’t do that anymore!  I HATE IT!!!  I think why did I do that to Ivy Leaguers, because I hate when people feel like they have to “up their game” to converse with me! 4) you never ever want people to know you attended Ivy League institutions, because inevitably, you will do something stupid and the response is: You went to Harvard? Really? Are you sure? This brings me to the reason I am telling you all of this…..First, I dropped a tissue behind my bed between the mattress and the bed frame. I noticed that I desperately, and I mean DESPERATELY needed to run a vacuum back there. There was a cobweb and Charlotte and her kin were probably living comfortably beneath my bed, and that freaked me out. So, I got the vacuum cleaner and attached the handle to reach under the bed and I am lying on the floor with the loud Dirt Devil causing me deafness in my left ear and all the sudden I heard a noise that didn’t sound so good. I smelled a burning smell. Yes, I had vacuumed my hair into the vacuum. I yanked it out and that chunk of hair reminded me of the dreadlocks on Bob Marley head the guy from the great reggae band. So, now what? Do I brush it out? No way in hell. Do I cut it? My ONLY option. Any of you see Sixteen Candles? Remember when a character in the movie got a hunk of hair caught in a door and was too drunk to open it, so they cut it. Welcome to my world. If you look closely, I am missing a chunk of hair. I was completely sober. And yes, I went to Harvard. Next major snafu. Yes, all in just one week. It was a banner week for the brain! I decided that I wanted to make a bloody mary like the ones I get down at NOHO STAR on Bleecker Street in NY. Here are the ingredients roughly: tomato juice, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, celery salt, tobasco, Worchestershire sauce, salt, red onion and a spicy little pepper. It is killer!!!

So, I make my bloody and take it into the den to drink and watch television. My eyes itch and I take off my glasses and I had not washed my hands since I cut the pepper. I thought I was going to die. Not really, I just thought my eyeballs were on fire and going to pop out of their sockets. I ran into the bathroom, and I tossed water into my eyes. Didn’t help because I still, Yes, I still had not washed my hands. Now it is burning even more! SO, I wash my hands, and then toss water on my eyes, I dig in a drawer for eye drops, I can barely see a thing. I am in such excruciating pain that I want someone to come smack me so the pain goes elsewhere. Like ripping off the band-aid theory. I can’t get the drops in my eyes, because it hurts too much to open them. I finally get the drops in and it hurts like hell. STILL. I stumble to the linen closet for a washcloth. I think I stubbed my toe on the way there. I grab the washcloth and take it back to the bathroom and soak it in water, and go crawl onto my bed, and  place it on my eyes and lie there begging for the pain to stop. Yes, I went to Harvard.

Hence, when I tell you I went to grad school in Boston, it is because when I do things like get my hair caught in the vacuum cleaner or forget to wash the spicy pepper juice off my fingers and insert them in my eyes, you don’t look at me and say, “Are you sure you went to Harvard?”

My 84-year old neighbor Viv, who I call 007 and my 80-year old neighbor who we call Trouble and myself who is nicknamed Firecracker decided to roadtrip out to VIv’s old farm in Friendship, IN. Viv’s farm was beautiful. We went the week of a flea market. Not a darn thing you would want…I hope. The prices were sky high. I have never seen so many Harley Davidson’s and camper trailers in one place in my whole life. I felt like I was in Deliverance a little bit, but stuff like that is so character building or so I keep telling myself.

We went to the local watering hole for lunch. The only place in town. Trouble and I ordered two very ordinary BLT sandwiches for lunch and then we all shared one large piece of homemade Apple pie. It was worth the trip for that Apple Pie a la mode. And to see the t-shirt of a guy that read: I AM A PORN STAR, DO YOU WANT TO KISS ME BEFORE I BECOME FAMOUS. Enough said.

I came home from that daytrip. I ran a bath and crawled into it with a hot cup of my Zabar’s coffee and my Saveur magazine. It was heavenly.

Some ladies in my building wanted to to go to a place downtown in an area of Cincy called Over-the-Rhine. It was a beautiful neighborhood architecturally in its heyday. It has become very rundown, but they are beginning to resurrect it. So, we were going to drive together in my not so fancy car to this  66-year old institution called Tuckers. They had tried to go weeks before and got scared and left. I said I loved the place and I would go with them. We got there and the joint was closed on Mondays so we went to try out Jean Robert’s, a famous Cincy chef who happens to be French. We went to check out his new restaurant called FRENCH CRUST. Love the name.

We arrived and they were closed because of electrical problems. They told us to come back in 30 minutes. So, we walked up Vine Street and shopped a bit. Carolyn bought a vase and we went back to the restaurant.

There was this kinda sexy French guy near the door. Not my type, but he had this sexy air about him. I heard his accent and he looked a little rough and tumble, but something about him. He ate one croissant after another. Good sign.

I ordered a cappuchino. Best one I have had in Cincy. EVER! Very tasty. I was going to order a second, but didn’t want to spend that much money on another capp. SO, I ordered a coffee instead. What a let down. The capp rocked; the coffee did not. Then we couldn’t get the Quiche Lorraine because the electric had been out and we couldn’t wait that long for it to cook. I was crushed, but decided it was a blessing in disguise, because I absolutely adore and cherish Thomas Keller’s Lorraine Quiche at Bouchon Bakery in New York and since he is considered the number one chef in the country or at least in the top 5…I couldn’t fathom my little Jean Robert’s Quiche Lorraine comparing to Kellers! I was scared for the letdown. Sad but true. I am a food snob. I wanted a pain du chocolate. (A French croissant) I know…stop the madness. Thankfully, the electric stopped me from getting one. I still had to go run and then walk for an extra hour in a feeble attempt to get all the food I was consuming off my hips. No quiche lorraine, but instead I had a flat croissant with salmon, egg mimosa, tomato and avocado. It was yummy! I still may have to go back and try that quiche lorraine. I will definitely go back for a capp!

A few days later, I was to meet my law school buddies at Tuckers. My friend Al, who is 6″7 called me when he arrived and said, “I am scared. Should I have brought my gun?”

“No, you big baby,” I said. “You will be fine.”

Then the other classmate showed up and asked if we were going to die today?

“No,” I said again. Sadly, TUCKERS was closed, and so we went to the SENATE.

The hotdogs in this joint are so fabulous. They are so wonderfully witty with the names and the concoctions, Trailer Park dog  is a bacon wrapped hotdog, coleslaw, American cheese, Grippos potato chips crumbled on top, I love the HELLO KITTY with wasabi mayo, ponzu wasabi slaw, bacon, wasabi peas and sesame seeds. That day, I was craving a good old fashion Chicago dog with mustard, sport peppers, pickles, neon relish, tomatoes, and onions. Yes, I can’t believe I ate peppers so close to the last time.  I was totally PARANOID about getting that juice in my eyes again. I almost dipped my fingers in my water glass, but decided that would be a tad bit gauche! BUT…..before the hotdogs….we had some creation called POUTINE. I had heard of it, but it never appealed. A & A ordered it. It is duck fat french fries, with cheese curds, braised short ribs with gravy and a fried egg on top. It doesn’t sound great. It looks scary, but it tastes divine! I am not sure I can go there again without ordering it. I thought about lifting the plate and licking it, but I thought it may look funny or it would drip into my lap and then I would go head down into my lap to eat what I spilled, and thought look even funnier!!!

So, we had eaten the salty foods. Now, I needed a little sweet something. I talked my friends into going to Holtman’s for Donuts. I also thought about telling the Holtman’s I should get a discount because my last name is one letter off from theirs, but I was scared they would tell me to leave and not let me back.

Well, I became instantly fixated on an Oreo donut. Yes, Oreo donut. Chocolate cake donut with Oreos cooked into it and sprinkled onto it and then the center of an Oreo on top like icing. I am telling you, I was eating the thing and I think my leg was vibrating like a dog when you itch it in the right spot. It was that darn good. And then I had to get an Apple fritter, and to make my conscious less guilty I was feeding it to Al & handing it to Annette. Like those two miniscule bites I gave them was going to take that many calories out of it for me?

Then the next day, I went and ran three miles, which was good, because I was meeting my friends Mindy, Nancy and Lisa on Friday night at TACOCRACY down in Northside. I might eventually need an intervention program for the fact that I am hooked on that duck taco. Yes, a duck taco. And then I seemed to have a bit of a problem with their homemade chips and guac. The problem was I could not stop eating them. I virtually starved myself all day Friday to make up for the Chicago Hotdog and Oreo Donut the day before and now I am eating guacamole the way most people eat ice cream. Step away from the guacamole, Miss Erin. Save some for everyone else! I should have smeared it on my face for a mask and told everyone I was getting a facial and then eaten it that way by scraping it off and into my mouth. It couldn’t have been any more unattractive then my gorging on it with chips. See, I learned a valuable lesson that day. When you deprive yourself from food for too long, when you see it….and start eating it. It is not so pretty!

I told you about VIv aka 007, in my building. She is the 84 year old woman who acts like she is 27 and is in pretty much the shape of a 27 year old gal. The other night I went to watch television with her. She said, when the show is over, lets go hop the fence and go swimming. The pool has been closed for almost a month! So, I can’t let an 84 year old woman hop the fence alone. SO, I follow.

She has this down to a science. We get off at the second floor and walk down the stairs so we don’t exit the elevator on the first floor in front of the camera. Then we turn off the outside lights before we exit the building so the cameras don’t catch us again. We go over the fence and pray we don’t slip or we will get a pole up our hootchie cootchies! Scares the crap out of me. Then in we go! I have no idea how cold that water is or if there is enough chlorine to protect us from diseases, but I will tell you this! I hope I have that much spunk and fun in me at 84! In some ways, she is a lot younger and more carefree than me! Kudos to 007!

Today, Carolyn and Jo and I went out for brunch at Tuckers. They finally got to go! Coffee there is so delicious. I practically finish it before they even leave the table. I had to get the Tucker’s Burger, which is a yummy burger with a tartar sauce concoction on top and onions and made with love. I crave that burger. Same idea as Cincy’s beloved Big Boy burger at Frisch’s with tartar sauce. I love that burger too, but that Tucker’s burger…it just has that “Je ne sais quoi!” Translation. I don’t know what!

Well, thanks for eating with me this week, and at  least you don’t have to sign off now and go run 50 miles to break even on the calories I just consumed. Off I go. Until next time….





2 thoughts on “Hotdogs, Donuts and More, OH MY!

  1. Erin! this is Brama and Mikael from Tropical Bali Hotel who lost the Hotel to a greedy one and then moved back to Sweden and now we are in Portugal to visit a friend and ends up looking at houses to hopefully start a new home-stay a la us! we found your blog and oboy we miss you and are happy and proud after reading what you have been through! lots of love and with hope to see you again somewhere yours Brama and Mikael 2 okt 2013 kl. 22:37 skrev eattravellaugh :

    > >

    • Hi Brama & Mikael! It is so wonderful to hear from you! I MISS YOU YOU TWO and my daily Brama hugs and your FOOD! I am so sorry about the hotel in Bali! That was such a wonderful and special place and I have such fond memories of being there with you two! I knew you were in Sweden and then I lost touch with you. I LOVE Portugal. What a beautiful country! And so much closer for me to come visit you!!!Keep me posted. Please stay in touch! Much love to you both!!! Thanks again for finding me and your so very nice note! Erin

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